Basic Czech Foods Reference Guide

Mystified by menus? Stumped in the store? These translations and explanations will probably help

The following reference guide is designed to help you when you need food.

Often, when shopping or dining out, little annoying questions pop up that are sometimes difficult to answer, especially when you don't speak Czech.

You should note that menu items are often misspelled and poorly translated into terms that border on comical. European definitions are usually the standard on menus so be prepared to see "aubergine" as opposed to "eggplant."

Here are a few answers to any questions or concerns.


butter -- máslo

cheese -- sýr

cream -- smetana

cream cheese -- tavený sýr

curds -- tvaroh

eggs -- vejce

ice cream -- zmrzlina

milk -- mléko

sour cream -- zakysaná smetana

whipping cream -- smetana ke šlehání

yogurt -- jogurt


baking powder -- kypřící prášek do pečiva

baking soda -- zažívací/jedlá soda

barley -- ječmen

bread -- chléba

flour -- mouka

flour/coarse (meal) -- hrubá mouka

flour/sifting -- hladká mouka

flour/wheat -- pšeničná mouka

hops -- chmel

grains -- cereálie

oats -- oves

pasta -- těstoviny

starch -- škrob

wheat -- pšenice

rice -- rýže

rolls -- rohliky/housky


Beef -- Hovězí

ground beef -- mleté hovězi

steak -- biftek

roast -- pečeně

sirloin -- svíčková

filet -- filet

Pork -- Vepřové

chop -- kotleta

rib/sparerib -- žebro/žebírko

hot dog -- párek

bacon -- slanina

loin -- bedra

short loin/roast beef -- roštěná

rump -- kýta

ham -- šunka

salami -- salám

sausage -- klobása

spare ribs -- žebírka

Chicken -- Kuře

breast -- prsíčka

leg -- kýta

thigh -- stehno

whole -- celé kuře

wings -- křídla/křidélka


apple -- jablko

apricot -- meruňka

banana -- banán

blueberry -- borůvka

cherry -- třešně

cranberry -- brusinka

coconut -- kokosový ořech

lemon -- citrón

lime -- limeta

melon -- meloun

orange -- pomeranč

peach -- broskev

pear -- hruška

plum -- švestka

raspberry -- malina

strawberry -- jahoda

tangerine -- mandarinka

pineapple -- ananas

watermelon -- vodní meloun


beet -- červená řepa

bell pepper -- paprika

broccoli -- brokolice

cabbage -- zelí

carrot -- mrkev

cauliflower -- květák

celery -- celer

corn/maize -- kukuřice

cucumber -- okurka

lentils -- čočka

lettuce -- salát

mushroom -- houba

onion -- cibule

peas -- hrách

potato -- brambor

radish -- ředkvička

squash -- dýně

string/runner beans -- fazolový lusk

tomato -- rajče

zucchini/courgette -- cukina


basil -- bazalka

cinnamon -- skořice

coriander -- koriandr

cumin -- kmín

curry -- karí

dill -- kopr

ginger -- zázvor

nutmeg -- muškát

marjoram -- majoránka

paprika -- paprika

pepper (black) -- pepř

peppermint -- máta peprná

poppyseed -- mák

salt -- sůl

tarragon -- estragon

thyme -- tymián


cake -- dort

candy -- bonbón

chocolate -- čokoláda

cookies/biscuits -- sušenka

donut -- kobliha

honey -- med

ice cream -- zmrzlina

jam -- džem

marmalade -- marmeláda

sugar -- cukr



Sometimes referred to in the English/Czech slang form, “karotky” in dishes on restaurant menus.


Celery is used differently than maybe you're used to. Czech celer is the large, white bulbous root of the stalk, and is used to flavor soups, sauces or stews. If you're used to using the celery stalks, they can be found, but aren't as common and can be rather expensive.


Unlike the potato, corn hasn't been a traditional Czech staple. In the past it was more commonly grown as food for animals than for people, but its production for human consumption has nearly quadrupled within the last 12 years. Still, it may take some searching around to find corn meal, chips, bread and other corn-based foods. However, popcorn (pražená kukuřice) and corn flakes (kukuřičné vločky) are two corn foods found in abundance.

Ground Meat

If you're looking for hamburger (ground beef) look carefully at the packaging. Oftentimes you'll find what's called mleté maso (ground meat), a mixture of beef and pork -- at best -- not pure beef. This mixture isn't often found in the USA because it's a health risk, but you’ll find it here more often than you'll find pure ground beef (mleté hovězi), or ground pork (mleté vepřové).

Hot Dogs

Wienies or wieners, frankfurters, franks, hot dogs or red-hots; whatever you call them, and wherever you're from, we've got more of them here. All beef? Not gonna happen. What will happen, though, is you standing in a supermarket scratching your head while you stare at 100 different varieties of párek, none of which will make you feel like you’ve gotten even close to a traditional American baseball-park frank.

At least two of the names on the list above should serve as a reminder that Central Europe is the part of the world that claims to have the richest sausage heritage. Terms like, jemný párky (soft franks), lahůdkové párky (select franks) or Vídeňské párky (Viennese franks) will only serve to confuse you. Just go by looks and hope for the best. As for buns, use the rohlíky!


Salát is both lettuce and a salad. You'll have to rely on the context to figure out whether you'll get a head of lettuce, or the mixture of vegetables with lettuce that we know as a salad. Confused yet?


Back in the days of Communism, it was hard to find fresh milk in the city. Most of the milk available was ultra-heat treated to extend its shelf-life. This is still the most common variety of milk available today, but it can also be purchased in several other variations:

acidophilus milk -- acidofilní mléko

evaporated milk -- zahuštěné mléko

fresh milk -- čerstvé mléko

fortified milk -- bílkovinami/obohacené mléko

boxed/imperishable milk -- trvanlivé mléko

malted milk -- sladové mléko

pasteurized milk -- pasterizovaný mléko

skim milk -- odtučněný mléko

soy milk -- sójové mléko

whole milk -- plnotučné mléko


Most often, especially when dining out, you'll see champignon (žampiony) rather than mushrooms (houby) listed by name on restaurant menus. There are dozens of others that Czechs will pick and eat fresh from the field or forest, but you won't find these in a restaurant.


The Czech word for bell pepper is paprika. In English, of course, this is a common spice name. Czechs don't see the difference between the fresh veg and the dried spice and use it interchangeably. You will find it referred to on the packaging of everything from cheese spreads to potato chips.


As in southern Germany, there's a wide variety of pork-based goods, each with a different name. There's far more to it than hot dogs and sausages -- and far too many to list here.

The James Joyce Irish Pub

Best Irish Pub in Prague

Ristorante Casa de Carli

Authentic Italian cuisine in Prague


Greek bistro & food market


Destination for foodlovers

Norbert’s donuts

Donuts made with love and fantasy

SWIM Restaurant

Club meets kitchen concept

Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…

Digital lifestyle magazine platform promoting life in Prague.